Shea Watson

Team Captain Sundays are for the Girls Tri for a Cure 2017

Feel free to read my full story below, but in the interest of saving time-- here's the short story: I did the Tri for a Cure for the first time in 2015, just months after my dad was diagnosed with a rare Lung Cancer. After two years of cheering me on from the sidelines, two of my best friends decided they wanted to join in on the fun. So I'm incredibly grateful to be swimming in this year's Tri with Margaret hopping on a bike after me, and Emma closing us out with the run. All donations are greatly appreciated!! xoxo

Full Story:

In January 2015, the best guy I know was diagnosed with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer. None of us knew what to make of it-- we just knew it really, really sucked. When you're told the healthiest person you know has cancer, it comes as a complete shock.

Growing up, I watched my dad run road races, swim the Peaks-to-Portland, and complete triathlons. Anyone who knows my dad knows that physical fitness is a major part of his life. Unfortunately, it was clear it would not be a major part of his life in the months following his diagnosis. I realized that the best way for me to support my dad would be to participate in one of his favorite activities, all the while raising money to benefit cancer research. So (in a move that shocked literally everybody I know) I registered for the Tri For a Cure and vowed I'd be able to complete all three legs of the race after a few months of training.

While my dad may be incredibly devoted to fitness and exercise,  my interests in early 2015 were skewed towards bingewatching Netflix and eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting (full disclosure: these continue to be two of my preferred activities). Training for the Tri totally changed my lifestyle. My new outlook on exercise and the bond that grew between my dad and I because of it are nothing short of incredible. My first Tri instilled a positive attitude towards exercise (except running...still hate that) that has grown in me ever since.

And while those personal changes were fantastic, it was the sense of being part of something so much bigger than myself, so much more important than anything I've been a part of, that truly made my first Tri For a Cure such a wonderful experience. The women that participate, the volunteers, the directors, the families and friends that show up and cheer (even in the pouring rain!!) are who make the Tri so amazing. There is no other event fueled by such motivation and ambition; it's one of a kind. After that first Tri, I told my dad I was going to participate every year until we find a cure to cancer. It's a promise I intend to keep.

My dad has defied the odds. As much as I'd love to say it's his fantastic genes (that he passed along to me...thanks dad!!) that are the reason he still maintains a normal life more than two-years into his diagnosis, they're not. No, what has given my dad the ability to fight this demon with the tenacity and vigor that he has are the incredible and miraculous drugs that are the result of cancer research. Quite literally, this continued research has saved my dad's life. 

This year I'm setting my fundraising goal at $3,000: the number that will make my total combined fundraising for Maine Cancer Foundation $10K, which is fitting because it's also the 10th anniversary of the Tri and my 3rd year participating. Cancer is everywhere. Cancer impacts everyone. Cancer is cruel. Cancer sucks. And far too many people get this diagnosis. 

Thank you to those who have donated in the past two years, I'm so grateful for the support. Thank you in advance to anyone who chooses to donate in honor or memory of someone you love, someone you've lost, someone who continues to fight, or yourself. I "Tri" for my dad, the parents he lost to cancer, all the amazing people I know who have beat cancer, all the amazing people I know who continue to battle cancer, and all the people in my life who have lost a loved one to cancer. The fight to find a cure for cancer is a fight we should all contribute to. 

Love to all of you!

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